Our family enjoys visiting National Park Sites. For Elsie, she really enjoys completing her Junior Ranger badge so it is a win-win for all of us (Evie is just along for the ride). While in San Antonio I had planned some time to visit San Antonio Missions National Historic Site. There are four separate missions that are part of this NPS site and I had hoped to get to at least two but we ended up spending quite a bit of time at the first one. There is about 2-3 miles between each site. After visiting this park we ended up in Downtown San Antonio for lunch at Mi Tierra’s and the afternoon on the Riverwalk. I covered that part of this trip in this post.
As I was researching the missions and trying to get a little background on the area I discovered that there is a San Antonio River trail with segments to all of the different Mission Sites. This is a Hike and Bike path that leads all along the river from the most southern mission-Mission Espada all the way to the Alamo in downtown San Antonio. The trail then continues north to Brackenridge Park. All along this route are B-Cycle Bike Share Stations. We brought our bikes on the trip with the intention of biking between two of the missions. However, it had unexpectedly rained overnight and then was drizzling the morning we visited the missions so we weren’t able to bike but it is a great option. Or if you are staying downtown and want to get to the Mission just rent a bike and hop on the trail. You can download a printable map for the whole trail here.
So back to the Missions-the mission we visited was Mission San Jose which is the location of the park’s visitor center. When we arrived, we were one of a handful of people there. We like to get to places early and we arrived right as it was opening. It was sort of drizzing so we made our way to the Visitor Center to look around and see what programs were being offered. This site offers free guided tours every hour or so. They also show a video but we chose not to view it and instead worked on Elsie’s Junior Ranger booklet.
We really enjoyed the tour and I learned so much history about the area that I never knew about. I had very little knowledge about the Spanish Missions and what their purpose was in the area. Evie was a bit of a handful during this tour but because we were outside we took turns letting her run around and explore the grounds a bit. Elsie seemed really into the tour and when at one point I mentioned leaving because Evie was getting out of control, Elsie was upset because she wanted to continue the tour. Our tour guide was great too!
I just thought the church was beautiful! Mass is still held at this mission each week and maybe the other three missions as well.
After the tour, Elsie finished up her book and earned her Junior Ranger Badge. The staff here also gave Evie her very first Junior Ranger badge as well.
My only regret with visiting is that we didn’t allow enough time to visit other mission on the trail but that will give us something to do the next time we make our way south.